Nuance Dragon Dictate 2.0 for Mac review

The newest version of Nuance's Dragon Dictate voice recognition software for Mac is finally available. Is it a second-class port of a Windows app or a real boon to productivity? Julian Prokaza dons a headset and clears his throat to find out.

With this initial training out of the way, Dragon Dictate 2.0 can then turn speech into words within just about any application that would otherwise rely upon a cursor for input. The application runs in the background with just a floating status window to indicate its presence.

Dictation works extremely well. Best results are achieved with the clear, clipped and well-modulated vocal style of a TV newsreader, but Dragon Dictate is quite adept at dealing with less-than-perfect diction and nor is there any need to speak particularly slowly.

Dictation is as much of a skill as typing though, and maintaining a clear line of thought while simultaneously speaking it aloud takes practice pausing mid-sentence, or speaking in a halting way while an idea coalesces, is a recipe for poorly recognised speech. The need to verbalise all punctuation marks comma for example comma can also be a distraction open bracket try reading this sentence aloud to see how this works close bracket full stop. Punctuation can be ignored during dictation and then added later using the keyboard, of course, but that does rather defeat the point of speech recognition.

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